The first step in the long, winding journey of owning a business is having a great business idea; or just a great idea, really, but one with a great marketing potential (i.e. a business idea that is highly marketable). This means that one of the features of a great business idea is that people must be willing to pay for it. Once a business idea fits this criterion, there is a very good chance that it might be profitable. A great business idea might strike in a moment’s inspiration or may present itself over time. Nevertheless, it should be protected.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOUR GREAT BUSINESS IDEA?
Business ideas should – and must – be protected at all costs. This is because, well, any idea of yours is something you came up with, a spark of inspiration that only you are responsible for. Quite simply put, ideas are seeds and as such, they should be protected, nurtured and planted. You owe it to them and you owe it to yourself.
But when that spark of inspiration hits, there are a number of factors that could prevent you from working on it immediately. It may be that you simply do not have enough money (i.e. capital) or you lack the time or the technical know-how. Whatever the case may be, it might take you a long time to work on your ideas and several reasons may be liable for this. In instances like this, it is not uncommon for you to realize a few months – or years – down the line that someone else has worked on the idea (or something very similar to what you had it mind) and that dream (or at least, a version of it that fulfills the same need) has already been brought to life. This usually happens as a result of the fact that many ideas are fuelled by need on a subliminal level, and most of the time, you are not the only one seeing that great need that needs to be met (i.e. the great need that inspired the great idea in the first place). And as people are constantly trying to figure out how to solve their problems, thus leading to the existence of several great ideas; many of which other people may have already imagined to an extent. However, there are other instances where great ideas are stolen.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GREAT BUSINESS IDEA
It is very important to protect your great business ideas when they strike. However, it is not always easy to do this, particularly in this digital age of social media and the internet. Yet, as the owner of a great business idea, you have burden of protecting your innovation in its embryonic state. There are no foolproof ways to do this, but there are some simple precautions that you can take to protect your great idea. Some of them include the following:
- Keep your idea away from the internet
One of the greatest threats to your great business idea is other people. There are some people out there who have the means (e.g. funding, capital and connections) to bring a great myriad of great business ideas to life. However, most of the time, a lot of these people do not have their own original ideas or the inclination to do anything original. Some of these people a happen to be random strangers on the internet who have been waiting for long periods of time for a single spark of inspiration to come their way; which is basically all they need to reap the fruits of success, since they already have the means to pull it off. So, in order to keep your great business idea out of reach of this brand of individuals who will steal your idea, execute it almost as soon as you send that tweet announcing your brand new business idea to the world, and then take all the credit for it (which, arguably they kinda deserve since they put in all the work; something that could make for a very long and bitter battle in court); simply keep your great business idea off the internet.
- Less “talking” and more “doing”.
If you are the kind of person who shares every tidbit of every new business idea with everybody they know and everybody they meet, there is a very high chance of your great business idea being stolen away almost as soon as you’ve thought of it. In order to prevent this, and for the purpose of protecting your precious intellectual property – i.e. your great business idea – you need to stop telling everybody everything about it. You can still talk about it but only with the people you absolutely trust and even then, you don’t have to tell them absolutely everything about it. Learn to keep key distinguishing features about your business idea to yourself. Instead of talking about those things so often, you can divert all your energy and excitement over the idea into actually doing the work, and making concerted efforts to bring your idea to life. If there are any obstacles between you and the actualization of your idea, try and solve them and try to see the process through. One of the absolute best ways that you can protect your great business idea is by bringing it to life and actualizing it, and you must always remember this.
- Invest in passwords and cyber-protection.
When you have a great business idea, it is only expected that you’ll be using your computer a lot as there are quite a number of things that you’d be needing it for. You’d need to use your computer for research, for preparing business plans and writing proposals and many other things. To protect your business idea, you must also protect your privacy on your computer and other devices even when you’re offline (but especially when you are). As such, you must invest in good anti-viruses and applications that provide good cyber-protection and cyber-security; in order to protect your devices from being hacked (as being hacked could compromise the confidentiality of your great business idea).